Wednesday, October 9, 2019

Court Blocks New Snowmobile Bridge Over Cedar River

On Tuesday New York Supreme Court Judge Robert Muller granted a motion by two Adirondack environmental groups to preliminarily enjoin the Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) from constructing of a new snowmobile bridge over the Cedar River until a decision is reached in an ongoing lawsuit.

The river is designated as a Scenic River under New York’s Wild, Scenic, and Recreational Rivers System Act.

The preliminary injunction was issued in response to a lawsuit brought by Adirondack Wild: Friends of the Forest Preserve and Protect the Adirondacks!  The court decision halts construction of the trail at the banks of the Cedar River for now.

“The Court’s decision sends a clear signal that the protections granted by the Rivers Act will be given full force and effect,” the groups’ attorney Christopher Amato said in a statement sent to the press.  “We are grateful that the Court recognized that allowing construction of a new snowmobile bridge and trail in this remote and sensitive area before a final decision is issued in this case could cause irreparable injury to the scenic river, its shoreline and to adjacent areas within the Forest Preserve.”

The preliminary injunction is not a guarantee of the groups’ success in the case, but does show that groups have met the tests for an injunction, which include a reasonable likelihood of success on the merits and a demonstration of an immediate and irreparable injury if construction began.

The organizations filed the lawsuit last January arguing that DEC’s December, 2018 issuance of a permit and variance to itself to construct the bridge and to build the new snowmobile trail on either side of the Cedar River would violate the Rivers Act. The groups also argued that the DEC failed to conduct a proper, site-specific environmental review of the project.

Photo: The Cedar River, roughly where DEC wants to build the new steel bridge. Photo by Dave Gibson, Adirondack Wild.

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